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  • Writer's pictureJovana Vranic

Infusing popular flavours into cannabis products

Updated: May 30

Every summer, Vancouverites flock to their local farmers' markets for a taste of the season's freshest Okanagan peaches. They're juicy, plump, and perfectly sweet—year after year.

Consumers trust familiar favourites and products that stay consistent over time. This is true across industries, but the cannabis market is lagging behind when it comes to capitalizing on our taste preferences.

Flavour is driving trends in the cannabis market

Deloitte's cannabis consumer report shows a recent decline in flower market share, while edibles and oils are continuing to climb in popularity. Concentrates, topicals, and beverages also saw immense growth in the past year.

After cannabinoid content and quality of high, taste and smell have been reported as the main ways consumers evaluate cannabis. This is reflected in market trends toward more palatable Cannabis 2.0 products in 2021.

Statistics from Headset specifically highlight the success of beverages as one of the only categories to grow in market share across both Canada and the US, driven by steady growth in basket penetration. This tells us a lot about the power of flavouring and familiarity with cannabis products.

Budtenders have no problem upselling to customers with such a familiar product. We're used to seeing refrigerated drinks right next to the register when shopping for consumables, making them a common last-minute addition to our shopping carts. All the better if these drinks happen to remind us of our favourite flavours.

Innovations in manufacturing have allowed cannabis beverages to completely transform our relationship to the substance. Once thick, chunky, and pungent, most beverages on the market today hardly taste like the strains they're infused with, and go down so smoothly it's hard to have just one.

Building brand loyalty through the senses

Cannabis beverages went from tasting like watered-down extracts to soft drinks in disguise, drawing consumers in with sensory marketing. Brands can invoke trust and nostalgia by introducing tastes and smells that consumers already love.

Across the cannabis industry, marketing tactics are borrowed from other consumable products, so why not lean on flavours? To better understand Cannabis 2.0, we can look to the Beyond Beer market.

The global hard seltzer industry has been booming since 2016, with its value expected to exceed $15 billion by 2030. Consumers choose seltzers for their low alcohol content and health-conscious formulations. According to US reports, some brands are capitalizing on this to introduce superfruit blends, although flavours like black cherry, mango, and lime continue to dominate sales.

Industry leaders lean on these universally-loved flavours for their proven ability to drive repeat purchasing. We're genetically hard-wired with certain taste preferences since this helps our senses direct us towards pleasant and nutritious things. To break into the North American market with fruit-flavoured products, look no further than consumer trends in produce to define your scope.

Apples, strawberries, and grapes are North America's favourite fruits. Canadians, in particular, have a strong preference for berries, while Americans prefer citrus and tropical fruits. It's no surprise, then, that US-based White Claw leads the industry with flavours including ruby grapefruit, tangerine, lemon, and pineapple.

The role of terpenes

Terpenes are volatile compounds responsible for the aromas and flavours of plants—both fruit and cannabis alike. Unfortunately, they degrade over time. This is why manufacturers rely on the stability of standardized botanical extracts to infuse natural flavours with a long shelf life.

Flow Scientific crafts unique terpene blends, ranging from fruit flavours to cannabis strain profiles. Our expert lab team assesses the quality of each carefully-sourced terpene to provide thorough documentation in compliance with Health Canada and the Cannabis Act.

Contact our friendly and knowledgeable staff today for advice on marketing your cannabis products with botanical terpenes.


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